Petroglyph Monument in Albuquerque Scares Fiona

I decided we needed to get out and see something here in Albuquerque. I chose the Petroglyph Monument as I’d heard the parking fee was only $1 on weekdays and there is no admission charge. I thought it would be an interesting site. Yes, it was hot. But we only needed to be out for a bit. I don’t ever want to push the family to do more than necessary. So we donned hats, sunglasses and lathered on the sunscreen.

The thing is you have to climb over rocks and up a hill. It’s not really that bad. But for Fiona who is scared of heights, it was not the fun she’d expected. Though she was unhappy most of the way, she did trudge on. But it’s not a place she’ll want to go back to. :)

It was cool to look out over Albuquerque and see way over there on the other side the mountains. It’s in those foothills that we’re staying. It was at least 10 degrees hotter at the Petroglyph site than where we’re staying.

Next time we look at Petroglyphs maybe we’ll find some at Fiona’s eye level.


  1. I’m thinking about schools. If Fiona went to “regular” school in Albuquerque there would likely be a field trip. Most of the kids would pile out of the school bus and up the high places while the teachers yelled at them to wait and be careful and such. In the mayhem, Fiona’s fees could go unnoticed. Would this be inadvertently positive and she’d dig deep and figure it out – or would it be one more trauma confirming for her that school and heights are scary?

    I suspect very fortunate that she has loving, gentle parents to “force” her to the edge of her comfort zone with privacy and compassion.

    Meanwhile, I know some stuff about fear of heights and the extinguishment of such. Not sure it applies for Fiona but if you haven’t already looked at the psychological literature … oh, damn, there will be so much wrong & inaccurate & unhelpful info out there. Surely, someone with more credentials than “I’m no longer afraid of heights although somewhat cautious about edges of precipices” could steer you in the direction of reputable information. (Info I once had but no longer remember names to quote or where to find it.) No one should have to have fear limiting their life. Especially when you’re young, curious, and able-bodied.

  2. Neat place! Sorry Fiona did not fully enjoy it. ;-( I hope that changes for her. Hiking in the hills is something I enjoy a lot. [Although it can be tough to enjoy when you live in a town that is flatter than a pancake!]

    I’ve been ‘afraid of heights’ my whole life. Everyone is different, but I really think ‘fear of heights’ [1] is probably a collection of similar or related fears. For me I don’t think it’s the ‘height’, per se, that triggers the fear. In my case I think it’s ‘motion’.

    I actually took up rock climbing as a hobby for a while. I enjoyed it a lot. But don’t ask me to climb up ‘too high’ on a rickety ladder because I will freeze and sweat and become quite agitated. I can enjoy and appreciate the view of a canyon from the solidity of the ground … but a bridge or Spanish cable car swaying in the breeze can be a very difficult challenge for me.

    [1] I’m guessing that’s probably true for all the ‘fear of [x]’s. I’m not sure any two people with the same phobia are afraid in the same way for the same reasons.

  3. I think Fiona inherited a fear of heights from both my mom and Joel. However it’s not a paralyzing fear. She, and Joel, do push through and manage. Sometimes it’s worse than others. The fact that Fiona continued makes me feel that she’ll do just fine.

    She’s overcome her fear of the high playground equipment! :)

  4. Ron, I’m the same way. I climbed the hill, stood at the peak, and loved the view. Next day, I leaned against the railing at Sandia Peak (10,236′) to get a shot of the 7,000′ foot knife-edge peaks below. If I focused on the Machu-Picchu-ness of it, it was great. If I thought, wow, that’s way down there, and really steep . . . even now, my chest hurts.

    I remember my father’s slightly unsympathetic response to my phobias as a child, and it’s always on my mind when we nudge Fiona to try, just a little bit.

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